Do you believe?

I was wondering how many of you believe in Santa? For those of you that do believe I say hurray! For those of you that don’t believe I offer my story below and hope that it might challenge your thinking and open your mind.santa

Yes, it’s hard to believe in things we don’t see. How can it be? If we can’t see it or feel it? It must not be real? However, I propose that our very existence is certainly based on many things we can’t see. A simple example is oxygen. Certainly we can’t see oxygen; yet without it we would not be living!

So take a deep breath and ponder as you exhale this life-giving, unseen element…

My story begins a long time ago, when I was in grade school. I honestly can’t remember if it was second, third, or maybe fourth grade. But I remember in detail the rest of the story.

As fall was passing and winter was on the horizon I started early. I started telling my father and mother that I wanted a guitar for Christmas. Now remember that I was one of seven children. And my father was an hourly worker at the J.L. Hudson’s company. He made a modest income but extensive Christmas shopping was beyond his budget.

Those that know me remember one of my stories about Christmas. One year I remember waking up extra early; excited to open presents on Christmas morn. And I was too excited to wait for everyone else so I decided to carefully open my gifts. I could always rewrap them and no one would know. I carefully peeled back the tape so they could be rewrapped without giving away the secret. And I remember two of the few presents that I received that year. For some reason this memory burned into my mind.

One of the presents was the top of pajamas and another was the bottoms. I’m sure this was done out of love; wanting to make sure I had many gifts to open. However; on that early Christmas morning the realization of just how poor we were sunk into my mind…

Forgive me for regressing. This was not the story I wanted to tell. The real story is about the guitar…

I was very diligent about asking for the guitar. I wanted Santa to bring me a guitar for Christmas that year. I wanted to learn how to play and sing. Like Sister Johnathon at our school.

Sister M. Johnathon was the guitar-playing, singing nun at Patronage of St. Joseph. She taught us songs and had the entire class singing praise to God. And I wanted to learn how to sing like her. And I remember asking her (before I had a guitar) if she would teach me how to play. And she said as soon as I get a guitar she would give me lessons.

My mother was careful in how she talked about Santa that year. I remember her hedging; saying that a guitar would be great to have; but sometimes we don’t get everything we want for Christmas. I’m sure she was trying to manage my expectations as she didn’t want a disappointed son on Christmas day.

As the Christmas was fast approaching; I never gave up on the guitar. I really wanted this one present!

My mother continued to caution me that we don’t always get what we want. That sometimes we have to wait for things that we want. But my father told me that if I truly believe than I will get the guitar. He told me that Santa would see to it.

That December our class took a field trip to Madonna College. We were going to the college for a Christmas party. When our school bus unloaded we met up with the college students. And so it wasn’t long before two students (who I never met before) met up with me. They were my hostesses for the party. And after my fellow students paired up with their sponsors we were led into a gymnasium. In the gym were boxes of gifts scattered around the large floor. The two women led me to the center of the gym and there was a box for me. And in the box was a guitar. I don’t remember the other gifts in the box but I remember the guitar. And I remember how happy I was to receive it.

Santa delivered! And I didn’t even have to wait until Christmas. I was one happy boy that year. I received the one gift that I most wanted. And I remember when we returned to school; with guitar in hand I went to Sister Johnathon and told her I was ready for lessons.

Sr. Johnathon taught me how to play. And the guitar changed throughout the years but the gift from that Christmas stayed with me to this day. And the songs that Sr. Johnathon taught me have stirred my soul. And this continues to be among the most valued blessings I count.

Maybe we can’t see him. Maybe he doesn’t drive a sleigh with eight tiny reindeer. But that doesn’t mean Santa doesn’t exist! The spirit of Christmas is about giving. And about loving. And about receiving. And about BELIEVING!

May the spirit of Christmas be with you this season! And I hope you BELIEVE!

Update on Recovery

I’m still at home recovering from the surgery. And I’m doing very well. I know the hundreds of prayers were heard by our Father and he is working some healing magic in me.

THANK YOU all for your support and prayers.

And know that I am praying for each of you as well.


The Guitar

3 Comments on “Do you believe?”

  1. Krea Gregory says:

    Phil: Thanks for sharing this wonderful memory with us. It is so amazing how God uses other people to touch our lives and bring us joy. Merry Christmas to you and your family. I pray that you will gain strength and health every day.

  2. Kathy says:

    Good Christmas story my guitar playing friend

  3. Mary Salens says:

    Wonderful story…hope you share it with Sister J. I do believe the spirit is with us. Merry Christmas and the very happiest New Year!

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